9 great apps as gifts for kids with special needs

About-The-GuideAbout this time last year, I wrote a post about a Toys “R” Us Toy Guide for Differently Abled Kids — a free toy-selection guide they put out every year during the winter holiday season for parents and friends of children with disabilities. Items featured in the guide promote the development of specific skills, such as auditory, language, visual, fine motor, thinking and social skills.

Well, I just got news that they’ve added another guide to help with gift-buying. The Toys “R” Us App Guide for Differently Abled Kids is available this year to help identify apps that are appropriate for children who have special needs. Toys “R” Us selected the following nine apps, sorting them all by specific skill-building needs:

  • LumiKids Park by Lumos Labs, Inc. This interactive learning experience engages players cognitively, socially and emotionally! The park is filled with fun, skill-building challenges. Plus, physical activities are hidden within for gross motor practice.
  • Wheels on the Bus by Duck Duck Moose, Inc. A musical adventure complete with swishing wipers and spinning wheels! Kids practice vocalizations and verbalizations by singing along, while being introduced to instrument sounds. Hand-eye coordination and isolated finger movements come on board as players spin the bus’s wheels, pop the bubbles and open/close the doors.
  • Dr. Panda’s Restaurant by Dr. Panda Ltd Combine mealtime with fun time! Ten delicious, international dishes and 8 animal guests to serve provide the perfect recipe for fun and learning. Kids chop, blend and fry their way to food recognition and ingredient identification as they create the perfect meal for their guests, while feeding their social and emotional skills.
  • Doodle Buddy by Pinger, Inc. Fun you can have with your fingers! Aspiring artists can paint, draw, scribble and sketch, add decorative stamps and share their original masterpieces with family and friends via email. This app helps promote isolated finger movements as kids finger paint and place the embellishments. Kids also can practice shape, letter and color recognition and identification.
  • Monki Birthday Party – Language Learning for Kids and Toddlers by Monkimum SL. It’s Cowy’s birthday! Help her celebrate by decorating, making the birthday cake, breaking open the piñata and more. Children focus on a variety of language skills as they follow instructions, practice shape and color identification and recognition, and practice beginning math skills such as counting and size comparisons.
  • Reader Bee and the Story Tree by Learning Circle Kids LLC. Based on brain research, this app is buzzing with ways to motivate little learners! Children start by identifying and recognizing individual letters and progress to understanding how a combination of letters form words. Best of all, the learning happens at the child’s pace, allowing each player to learn in his or her own style.
  • Curious George Goes Camping by Tribal Nova. Thoroughly entertaining, this app helps young children develop receptive and expressive language and reading-readiness skills through animation, personalization and story-telling activities. Kids are encouraged to listen to stories regaling George’s curious capers, ask questions, predict what will happen next and create their own animated stories.
  • Super WHY! by PBS Kids. Alphabet Power. Spectacular Spelling. Wonder Words. Story Saver. Kids play with the 4 familiar main characters from the hit PBS TV series with 4 interactive games that help teach essential literacy skills! Vivid colors provide visual stimulation, while the Learning Rewards, music and sounds offer pleasant auditory input. A fun way to keep the principles of the Super WHY! Power to Read available anytime your child wants a reading adventure.
  • Sago Mini Friends by Sago. Fix a birdhouse. Play dress-up. Enjoy a snack. Players spend time with their favorite Mini friends! Each friend’s house introduces a different interactive experience that helps children prepare for future play dates as they share, take turns, learn to be patient and develop empathy. This virtual play date features 5 friends and 10 activities for plenty of pretend-play opportunities.
  • Tiggly Shapes by Kidtellect Inc Just tap and the screen reacts! The 4 interactive toys (circle, square, triangle and star) have silicone touch points that allow your tablet to react to the shapes as if kids are using their fingers. Three award-winning apps help blend the virtual world with reality as kids incorporate the tactile shapes into play and practice shape recognition, story telling, creative expression and more. Best of all, no Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or batteries required.

holiday gifts wrappedWith all the apps available to children with special needs, I don’t know how Kids “R” Us managed to limit their list to just nine.You can also check out our list of fun storytelling apps for both nonverbal and verbal kids and other apps for families with disabilities.

If any of your favorite apps for kids with special needs were left off of the Toys “R” Us list and you’d like to recommend them to fellow Easter Seals blog readers looking for gifts for kids with special needs this year, by all means leave your recommendation in the comments section here – thanks.


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